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Last-Modified: 1997/12/10

         Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B
                  XXIII. Hermann Reinecke*
 Branding and Other Inhumane Treatment of Russian Prisoners
                           of War
                              
     Excerpts from Testimony of Hermann Reinecke, taken
     at Nurnberg, Germany, 23 October 1945, 1045-1235,
     by Col. John H. Amen, IGD. Also present: Lt.
     Daniel F. Margolies; General Erwin Lahousen
     (German P/W); Richard W. Sonnenfeldt, Interpreter;
     Anne Daniels, Court Reporter.
     
* Hermann Reinecke was a General of Infantry (Lt. Gen.);
Chief of the General Office of OKW; Chief of the NS
Political Guidance Staff, OKW; Honorary member of the
Special Senate of the People's Tribunal. Reinecke was known
as one of the most Nazified of the General generals. In
August 1944 he was one of the judges in the trial of
participants in the 20 June 1944 attempt on Hitler's life.


BY LT. MARGOLIES:

Q. I have here document R-94. The order deals with the
marking of Russian prisoners of war. [Document referred to
did not form part of prosecution case as finally prepared
and hence is not published in this series.]

A. Yes. (The witness examined the document.) I know this
order, and, as I said yesterday, it deals with tattooing. It
was issued by General Graevenitz at the time, and as soon as
we learned about it, it was recalled.

Q. Who is the order signed by?

A. It is signed by the Chief of the Prisoner of War
Department, General Graevenitz.

Q. On the order it states --

A. (Interposing) It was always signed "By Order of the Chief
of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht."

I know this exactly. Graevenitz issued this in July of 1942,
and either the Chief of the Department, the Chief of the
Section, or the Chief of the Prisoner of War Department
would sign it.

He personally had to recall this order; he had to issue
another order to cancel this one.

Q. When an order is signed by the Chief of the OKW, does he
know about the order before it is issued?

A. Normally, an order is signed by the Chief of the OKW --
such an order would have to be previously approved and
concurred in by the Chief of the OKW. However, I remember
exactly that this order here was issued without either his
or my approval, and thus it had to be recalled later.

I don't know any more exactly; you would have to ask
Graevenitz about it. I believe that this order was issued
after a general directive had been issued by Keitel that
prisoners of war would have to be marked in some way.

Q. Well, do you remember when the order was recalled?

                                                 [Page 1607]
                                                            
A. Yes; I know that exactly because all of us insisted on
that as soon as we heard about it. I can swear to that.

Q. Well, do you remember discussing this order with Field
Marshal Keitel?

A. If I remember correctly, a general order was given by
Keitel that they would have to be marked or identified in
some way, and that, of course, was because of the many
escapes that took place. Those people would get away from
the camps and then put on civilian clothes, and it would be
impossible to identify them.

I think this suggestion was made at the instigation of the
police. I believe that this is the order that resulted.
(Referring to the document) -- Yes, that is it.

BY COLONEL AMEN:

Q. Your recollection has been refreshed about the meeting
with Lahousen?

A. Yes. I was very much moved and very much stirred
yesterday that some of my answers were doubted. I can only
repeat again that I had nine departments under me, and one
can't remember all these things after four years.

Q. Well, you can certainly remember that there were many
conferences concerning the orders for the mistreatment of
Russian prisoners of war.

A. Of course, most of those conferences or discussions took
place with the Prisoner of War Department.

Q. No, but you personally attended many conferences where
those orders were discussed?

A. Of course, that is difficult to say, but it is possible.

Q. Well, I will refresh your recollection about it, I think,
in a very little while. Meanwhile, here is document 1519-PS.
[Circular regarding treatment of Soviet Prisoners of War.
See Vol. IV, p. 58.] I ask you to read it and see if that
helps to refresh your recollection on any of these points.
(The document was submitted to the witness.)

A. Of September 1941? Oh, yes. This, then, must have been of
consequence. I mean, the meeting must have taken place
shortly before this. I guess that must have been in
connection with the trip that I took to the front in August
of that year. I noted all those things, and then I must have
said, "Now listen, we can't work things like that," because
the commandants of the camps were complaining.

                                                 [Page 1608]
                                                            
Q. What were the commandants of the camps complaining about?

A. Well, just about this. Those were camps that were under
the authority of the Army; they were not under us. I didn't
have any camps there. They complained about the attitude of
the Police, and they wanted the same thing that we wanted,
namely, they wanted to have all these things done outside
the camps.

Q. Who is "they"?

A. By "they" I mean the commandants of the camps, and of
course us too. If I remember correctly, in August we had not
received any Russian prisoners of war in the home area.

Q. Where were they?

A. They were all with the Army, and that is where the orders
were sent. I believe the order that I was shown yesterday
had the initials of Warlimont on it and I believe it was
sent to the Army.

Q. So what?

A. What I mean to say about that is that these orders were
sent from the Leadership Staff of the Armed Forces to the
Army, and then we only saw it much later. Otherwise, we
would have issued this order on the 8th of September 1941
very much earlier.

Q. Well, the first order was issued on 16 June, was it not?

A. But not about this subject, I don't believe. There is one
mention here of the 26th of June 1941 and -- oh, yes, there
is one up here of the 16th of June addressed to the
Commander of the District. Only Breier could answer this. I
was in the sanitarium at Dresden at that time, and therefore
it is impossible for me to answer these questions.

This is also an order that was issued without my
collaboration, because otherwise it would have to say "AWA"
[General Office of the Armed Forces].

Q. That is a lot of nonsense. Now, do you remember document
number 502-PS [Vol. III, p. 422] which had to do with the
killing of the prisoners outside of the camp? Do you
remember that order?

A. You mean an order from us?

Q. Never mind who it was from. I said do you remember the
order that I showed you yesterday, dated 17 July 1941, about
killing prisoners outside of the camp? This order right
here. (The document was submitted to the witness.)

A. You mean what I saw yesterday?

Q. I say do you remember it, yes or no?

                                                 [Page 1609]
                                                            
A. I don't remember it; it was not issued by us.

Q. That isn't true either. Read the first line. Read it out
loud. (Whereupon the witness read as instructed.) Doesn't
that say that the activation of commandos will take place in
accordance with the agreement of the Chief of the Security
Police and Security Service, and the Supreme Command of the
Armed Forces?

A. Yes, that is possible; yes.


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